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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: ‘Maniac knife-man’ terrorizes hotel guests

From our archive, 100 years ago

An unknown “maniac knife-man” remained at large after he slashed O.S. Whitaker, 24, in the groin after attempting to get into Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker’s room at the Crest Hotel.

For several weeks, the hotel residents “had their dander up” because a “maniac” had recently attempted to attack a young woman hotel guest. Other attempts had also been made in the area.

So when Whitaker heard an intruder at the door, he was convinced the man at his door was the same assailant. Whitaker “donned a raincoat and made a rush toward him.” A struggle ensued, and the intruder finally ran away after Mrs. Whitaker “pluckily ran to her husband’s assistance and struck the thug several times in the face.”

Only after the intruder fled did Whitaker realize the man had slashed him several times with a pocket knife or large shears. Whitaker was bleeding heavily, and the residents rushed out of their rooms and came to his assistance. He lost a lot of blood, but doctors believed he was out of danger.

Police expressed regret that residents of the hotel did not call them immediately after they noticed a strange man running around in the hallway earlier that night. The man claimed he was looking for a young woman named Johnson.

From the bootlegging beat: Walter Layman, 25, was still in the hospital, paralyzed, after an angry husband shot him.

Now, however, his problems were getting worse. Police searched Layman’s shack and found whiskey bottles and other bootlegging paraphernalia, along with safe-cracking items.

Police suspected he was part of a “bad gang.”

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